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  • Steve McGee

How Can You Trust People Who Make Mistakes?

Unless you want to be the only one doing the work you'll have to get used to turning your back to focus back on the future while other people do the work. Does this sound terrifying?

I don't think trust is so special, or mystical. Sure it's spiritual but that doesn't mean it has to be fluffy or involve falling off a table into your staff's hands or wearing a blindfold on a hike.

It's pretty easy to trust others. You just decide to. To avoid worrying about it or avoid making a big mistake, there's more you can do:

  1. Explain things clearly if you need people to get the job done well. What is the outcome you need? How can you describe it being done well? What outcomes are unacceptable? Why do you need it done - in case the plan doesn't work could someone improvise and still get there?

  2. Ask for a 'back brief' if you want to worry less. This is basically asking the people you are delegating things to for them to put the whole thing in their own words, telling you what you want to get done. First, you know if they've understood or not. Second, they probably won't forget.

  3. Schedule a time to get an update. Your job is only to hear how it's going and to remind people of the goal. It's easier to resist taking back control when you resist giving directions and limit yourself to questions. "What about...?" or "Have you tried...?" You do have knowledge and wisdom but help them develop theirs.

Mistakes are guaranteed, and you know that. But even when they're not an option you don't have to figure it all out yourself. You don't need to push people aside and do it yourself.

You do need to lead.


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